Thursday, 28 June 2012

A Food and Drink Guide to Nottingham

When I came up with the idea for this post, I knew that it would not be an easy one to write, partly because it reflected my “growing up” story as I left my parents house to live free and independently of them for the first time and my transition of moving from a small town to a big city!

Although I have been writing this blog as a student and thanks to Law School will be a student for another year yet this post is for anyone who finds themselves in Nottingham and in need of a place to eat or drink! I will point out the best places for students, the best places to splash some cash, and everything good in between! For easy reading, I’ve broken the list down into the Best “fast food joints;” “places to get breakfast;” “for veggies” and much, much more!

I’ve even made a Google map  of my Food and Drink Guide to Nottingham, at the bottom of this post picking out each and every recommendation on the list to make it easier for you to find them!

If you know Nottingham too, why not leave a comment with your recommendations too! I hope you find this foodie guide to Nottingham useful!
Keep reading to find my comprehensive food and drink guide for Nottingham.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Currently Craving: Mushrooms (inc Mushroom Risotto recipe)

Welcome to this month's Currently Craving! I have been waiting to do this post for quite a while now: when my parents went on holiday last year they bought me back a mushroom risotto set and ever since I’ve been hooked on the creamy dish! One of my favourite things about mushroom risottos is that you can use a wide variety of mushrooms which means you can almost make a different dish every time.
This week I mainly used chestnut mushrooms which give a really deep and earthy flavour – to balance the dish, I served it with some broccoli and asparagus tips.

The following are some of the more interesting edible varieties of mushroom that you will be able to find in most supermarkets and specialist food shops: chanterelles, shitake, porcini, king oyster – morels and truffles are also from the fungi/mushroom family! All of these mushrooms can bring something extra special to your cooking.
I’ve always been fascinated by the wide variety of mushrooms; their different colours, sizes, shapes and textures. Going on a foraging course with a particular focus on wild mushrooms is something that I really hope to do in the near future! I don’t know however whether I would be able to trust myself even after attending such a course – there are so many varieties that mimic edible varieties but are in fact toxic! It’s a crazy mushroomy world out there. Some “edible” varieties aren’t actually edible unless they have been prepared in a certain way...something else I would hate to get wrong!

But fortunately for us there is a great choice of mushrooms on the high street either fresh or dried so there’s no excuse not to jazz up a risotto, an omelette, your fried brekkie or a steak!
In the meantime...why not try out this recipe for my Mushroom Risotto, serves four.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Turkey Mince Ragu with Pasta

My Mum decided not to go to university because she had had enough of exams. She has a number of stories related to her hatred of exams but one that is always struck me goes a little something like this. When studying for her A-levels she was so nervous that she completely lost her appetite. She literally couldn’t look at a plate of food without feeling physically sick and so instead spent the whole time grazing on small bowls of fruit and nuts. Her parents were convinced she was anorexic, she lost so much weight they had her clothes taken in, despite my Mum’s protests saying it was just exam nerves. But, her parents, as worried as they were, decided once exams were over she should go and stay with an aunty who would hopefully feed her up and knock her out of this “anorexic” stage with plenty of steamed puddings and stews. Funnily Mum was just nervous...and within weeks of finishing her exams she’s piled back on all of the weight and more and her old clothes were now useless! Not necessarily a bad thing if you ask me. Now the reason this story mesmerises me so much, is that, I just can’t imagine feeling so nervous I can’t eat! When I came to take MY A-levels, I found it impossible to concentrate without a big bowl of salted Doritos or popcorn by my side.

Needless to say I went the opposite to my Mum and didn’t fit in any of my clothes once exams were over for all of the wrong reasons! Every summer for me the pattern has been the same, but this year I was determined to break the cycle, and I’m proud to say that for once I managed to buck the trend! I didn't quite go to the extremes that my Mum did but by watching my revision snacking and eating healthily I've actually managed to loose weight. Though it wasn’t easy I must admit.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Miniature Carrot Cakes

Cake, cake and more cake...I have been swimming in cake batter the last couple of days! First was the bake-a-thon as I baked enough cakes to keep the birthday boy’s office happy, next I made a Red Velvet birthdaycake for Jon, and then last but not least, I made some miniature carrot cakes for afternoon tea at my Grandma’s with my Grandad, parents, and Aunty Lynne!

I thought doing miniature versions of a classic would give them a contemporary edge, and I also added a few extra chopped nuts and raisins to give the recipe a revival!
The best part though has to be the little carrots on top. Unfortunately I can’t take the credit for these, but I discovered recently that most of the supermarkets (at least Asda and Sainsburys) do their own little carrots perfect for decorating carrot cakes! Their ranges are really improving week on week!!!

If you’d like to give these cute little cakes a go for a tea party near you, I’d also recommend trying to get some miniature loaf cases (again many of the supermarkets stock them) but they would look equally cute as cupcakes.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

No matter how old you are you always deserve a birthday cake. For my Dad’s birthday last year I baked him a vanilla celebration cakewith butter cream, and last year I baked Jon a coffee and chocolate cake! Aren’t the men in my life lucky!

This year I thought I’d go super cheesy baking Jon a “Stevenage Boro” I’re never too old! To stick to the team’s red and white colour scheme, I thought what better than a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. YUMMY!
I’m sure you’re all very well aware of what red velvet is, the name kind of gives it away. But I have to admit, despite all the pictures of red velvet cakes, cupcakes, cakepops and more that appear of every cooking blog across the globe, I still didn’t know what to expect when it came to texture or taste. I had never previously cooked with buttermilk so I had no idea how this would affect the cake.

The way I would describe a red velvet cake is super moist, and most definitely velvety. It has a light crumb, yet still seems to be extremely rich and dense all at the same time! The cream cheese frosting also really compliments the cake; I think it would be far too sweet with my normal vanilla buttercream, and it’s nice for a change! Even without my normal super-sweet icing, the cake was still a little too sweet for some of our friends and family – I however, loved it.


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